Choosing and Showcasing a Focal Point

August 27, 2016 by Michelle Katzirz

Designers often speak of the importance of having a focal point in a room – but the truth is – many of us may not know exactly what that means or how to achieve it. So let’s start with a definition. The focal point of a room is the element to which the eye is naturally most drawn. It garners the most attention and often, the most compliments!

Why is it so critical? A room without a focal point is visually unappealing. The eye wanders; things compete against one other. It’s unsettling, whereas a room with a focal point is more pleasing and inviting. Everything else in the room accentuates the focal point, creating harmony and balance.

But how do you find a focal point? And then how do you highlight it? Here are our suggestions:

Embrace a natural focal point. Some rooms are blessed with ‘good bones’, whether it’s a cathedral ceiling framed in cornices, an impressive stone fireplace or a large window with a beautiful view. If that’s your space, lucky you! Make the most of it. Paint that ceiling a gorgeous pale pink or add a glamourous multi-tiered light fixture; hang bold abstract art above the fireplace; frame the window view with minimal curtains in a soft gauzy fabric.

Jonathan Louis Rhodes Living Room

Jonathan Louis Rhodes Living Room

Create an architectural focal point. If your home lacks character, add it yourself! Install wood beams to a ceiling for instant panache; add a brick wall to your space and display an interesting collection of black and white photos on it; install pillars where the living meets the dining room, framing beautiful French doors. How about wall to ceiling bookcases with not only books but artfully displayed bric a brac? It’s surprising easily to make any room look like it has a pedigree by adding an attention-grabbing focal point.

Modern Organics Conrad Entertainment Console

Modern Organics Entertainment Console

Make art a focal point. Whether it’s a large sculpture, a large single wall hanging or a grouping, art is not only a great focal point, but also a great conversation starter. For groupings, stick to a theme (sunsets for example) or frame all your art similarly (black frames with white mattes for example). For a single piece, be adventurous. Choose something stunning that makes a statement. Remember you want all eyes to fall on this element and to love it!

Furnish with a focal point. Choose an outstanding piece of furniture and make it the centre of your room’s universe! Larger pieces work best of course, based on sheer size, but also consider colour and style. How about a unique side/accent table in grey or turquoise? How about a sofa in red? What about a Victorian-styled settee or a large traditional armoire in a modern room?

Janet Collection

Janet Collection

Avoid this one focal point! Many living rooms are dominated by a large TV and while it’s fun, it’s not aesthetically very pleasing. Attempt to ‘override’ the television with a different focal point – perhaps a glorious painting on the opposite wall or a spectacular chaise in a bright colour.

Cast a critical eye over your living space. Is there a focal point now? Do you love it? If not, it’s time to put your creativity to work. Have fun!

Wood & Metal: How to Pair Them Beautifully

August 19, 2016 by Michelle Katzirz

One of the hottest home trends today is pairing wood and metal. And while most of us think of it as rustic meeting industrial, wood and metal can be partnered in almost any home style – from traditional to eclectic to contemporary. Here are some of our suggestions to beautifully blend wood and metal, whatever your décor aesthetic:

Lean either way. You don’t have to commit to wood and metal in equal measure. If you lean toward modern, opt for more metal and minimal wood. Choose cool-toned metals especially nickel, steel and iron; the look is very urban. If, on the other hand, you prefer casual and cozy, choose lots of wood with metal touches. Consider integrating warm metals like bronze and dull gold as accents.

Accent Chest

Accent Chest

Go with furnishings that combine wood and metal. One of the best ways to explore the wood and metal trend is furnishings that blend the two elements. From bedroom to living room to dining room to office, every conceivable piece, wood tone, metal finish and style is available. Don’t forget, you can always choose smaller pieces in this trend – coffee and end tables, accent tables or a hall table, for example.

Moe's Tiburon Collection

Moe’s Tiburon Collection

Blend separate pieces. Looking to create a one-of-a-kind look? Mix and match separate furnishings to achieve spectacular results. How about a traditional wood dining table with metal chairs? Or a wrought iron headboard with dark wood dressers? Or ultra chic metal end tables with an elegant wood-trimmed sofa? The possibilities are endless!

Look up! An all-wood ceiling is a gorgeous indulgence. Distressed wood is especially trendy and you can make it even more stunning by adding steel beams. The look is very urban loft, but can be achieved in many homes. Keep the furnishings and walls neutral to let the ceiling take centre stage!

How about accessories? Want to sample the wood/metal trend rather than leaping in? No problem! Look for beautiful wood signs (often with inspirational sayings), partnered with metal wall hangings like letters, geometric patterns and much more. Or go a step further with a distressed wood table in your hallway partnered with galvanized metal boxes for gloves, umbrellas, etc. How about a wrought iron gate repurposed as a unique wall hanging, positioned with a rustic wood bench?

Largo Mandolin Bay Sofa Table

Largo Mandolin Bay Sofa Table

Try antiques with metal. The ultimate juxtaposition is vintage wood with industrial metal. Rich oak, walnut and mahogany antique pieces get a new life next to fun and fresh metal benches, chairs and tables. Use your creativity!

Stick with durable, solid pieces. Whatever your décor style, metal and wood pairings have an air of solidity. Clean lines define the look; it’s never dainty or fussy. Be sure to choose pieces that reflect that – simple, strong and uncomplicated – yet definitely stylish!

Whatever your style sensibilities, pairing wood and metal is a trend that you can easily achieve – as a major statement or a striking accent.